Yes, your dog can suffer from dental issues just like humans. Our vets in McAllen will help you identify, treat, and prevent some of the most common dental issues found in your canine companion.
Plaque & Tartar Buildup
Just like humans, dogs will accumulate plaque and tartar buildup over time, especially without regular cleanings.
Plaque and tartar buildup are the main causes of gum disease in dogs as well as tooth loss. The most common signs for a dog owner to look out for are gingivitis (very red and swollen gum line), discolored deposits on the teeth, and increasingly bad breath. As the dental disease gets worse, dogs may experience even worse breath as well as bleeding of the gums.
Periodontal disease refers to the deterioration of the gum and bone that surround the tooth. This most commonly occurs when untreated plaque and tartar stick to the tooth and make their way beneath the gum line.
This disease starts in the form of gingivitis and develops into periodontal disease as the gum and bone around the tooth deteriorate.
Common symptoms of canine periodontitis include:
- Discolored teeth (brown or yellow)
- Loose or missing teeth
- Bad breath
- Weight loss/reduced appetite
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Excessive drooling
- Blood on chew toys or in the water bowl
- Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing
- “Ropey” or bloody saliva
- Problems keeping food in the mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms present in your dog, please contact a veterinarian.
Dogs do a lot of chewing, so it is not surprising that tooth fractures are a very common occurrence. Even everyday items can cause a tooth fracture, such as bones or hard plastic used to make toys.
To minimize the chance of tooth fracture dog owners need to be careful when selecting their dog's toys. Dog chew toys should be small enough that the dog doesn't have to stretch their mouth open, but large enough that there won't be a concern of accidentally swallowing or choking on the toy.
An oral infection is an outcome of a pocket (usually around the root of the tooth) that has been filled with bacteria. Infections are primarily caused by periodontitis but can also be initiated due to trauma-induced chewing on hard or sharp objects. Some infections can be fatal as the bacteria makes its way to the bloodstream and cause organ disease/failure in the heart, liver, kidneys, or brain.
Preventing Dental Problems
Creating a dental care routine for your dog is a great way to maintain oral hygiene and prevent oral issues.
Introducing food or water additives is an easy way to improve and maintain the health and strength of their teeth and bones. Adjusting your dog's diet can also increase oral hygiene, even with small exchanges like providing dental chews instead of less healthy treats.
Brushing your dog's teeth regularly is an ideal tactic for dog owners to use, although it is not always an option.
Be sure to bring your dog in for an oral hygiene cleaning and examination at least once every year. Some smaller breeds of dogs should go two or more times a year due to their teeth's shallow roots.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.